When I was a kid, I loved the dirt, the soil; any and all the soil around wherever I was living.

When I lived on a farm in Georgia, the soil was the foundation of our lives. Our whole sense of physical, mental, and spiritual well-being was dependent on and deeply colored by the seasonal conditions of the soil. In late winter the land was cold and hard before turning it in preparation for planting. The planting season, of course, was a much warmer and joyous time; knowing the seeds would bring us a great bounty that would buy all the things we needed and a lot of what we wanted. The summer was long, hot, and hard, but the dreams of that bounty kept us energized and dedicated to the cultivation of our crops. At last, the best season of all came; the season of gathering our crops and taking them to town.

I still have amazingly clear pictures in my mind of all those gorgeous crop plants; the cotton, corn, peanuts, tobacco, tomatoes, beans and more, steadfastly, rooted in the earth offering up their bounty. What I couldn’t put into words then, I can now: it was a wonderful warm feeling of the earth being father and mother to us, or when the crop was poor or altogether failed the feeling of abandonment, and dread.

The other half of my childhood was spent in Clearwater, Florida where it seemed the soil was mostly just for supporting buildings, roads, and parking lots, but us kids always found the dirt. We dug caves in it, dug holes in it, built forts in it and got it in every orifice in our bodies. I remember when I was digging in it I could smell all the rich, pungent, organic smells. I remember actually putting it in my mouth to see what it tasted like. Something in me recognized the powerful bond with my father, mother, brother, and sister earth; and I still feel that bond today. PLEASE DON”T TELL MY MOTHER I’VE BEEN EATING DIRT AGAIN.